by Usama and Andrew Crawshaw
The ref reviews for Arsenal’s EPL games and the weekly ref reports of the EPL are the result of work by a very dedicated team. They are time consuming and the intention is that they will be an unprecedented season-long research programme.
Given this project has become our priority programme, there sadly isn’t time available to undertake the same level of thorough referee reviews for the Uefa Champions League, League Cup and FA Cup games.
We will however try and prepare a quick review of these games in the other competitions highlighting the main talking points as we see them and supporting our views with appropriate video clips.
The referee for the PSG match was Viktor Kassai of Hungary. He is 41 and has been on the FIFA list since 2003. A vastly experienced official with appearances in the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012. He is indirectly responsible for the the introduction of the fifth and sixth officials on the goal lines following a poor decision he made in the 2011 group stage of the 2012 Euros when he disallowed a Ukrainian goal he believed had been cleared off the line by John Terry.
Subsequently it was proven that the ball had crossed the line. However it was also seen that the attack started from an offside position. Uefa acted on the goal line controversy but not the offside.
Turning to our game against PSG, in his post match interview Arsène Wenger said that he was surprised by the intensity with which PSG started the match.
But we were struck by the number of times that this intensity and commitment seemed to cross the line into foul play, and how little Mr Kassai seemed to care about it. Here are our thoughts on the most blatant of these incidents and the other Important Decisions (second yellow cards, red cards, penalties and goals) he got right.
There were 13 incidents of note including both goals
Incident 1 – Minute 1 – PSG score a clean goal, Cavani meeting a good cross and placing a powerful header past Ospina. No video clip necessary.
Incident 2 – Minute 6
Mustafi under pressure from Matuidi, clears the ball on the stretch. Matuidi being nowhere near the ball casually steps on the face of the left ankle of Mustafi. The studs of Matuidi’s foot were in firm contact for a substantial amount of time. This was a clear act of dangerous injury inducing foul play from Matuidi. The ball had gone and Matuidi could have angled away from Mustafi rather than run straight over him. Given the offence, this should have been a straight red card. The ref even failed to call a foul and instead signalled Mustafi to stop rolling and get up.
Incident 3 – Minute 9
Coquelin plays the ball past Veratti, when Veratti jumps two footed, way above the ball, with studs showing and takes out Coquelin’s left knee. There can be no doubt that this tackle is reckless and out of control. Another clear act of serious injury foul play. Also should have been a red card. But the referee only gave a yellow card.
The talk that “Player X shouldn’t get a red card this early in a big match, as it will spoil the game” has been repeated so many times by TV media, radio, newspapers and journalists that it has somehow subconsciously become part of the refereeing now. And this is totally wrong. If a player commits an offence that warrants a red card or yellow card, then he must be punished so, with none of this “spoiling the game” crap.
Incident 4 – Min 11
Cazorla who was on the counter attack gets kicked down from behind by Marquinhos. The ref gives no foul, plays no advantage and keeps running as if nothing happened. Marquinhos clearly escaped a booking here.
Incident 5 – Min 24
Both players going for the ball in 50-50. Both players stretch out and raise their foot. Krychowiak raised his foot a little higher than Coquelin. Krychowiak and Coquelin both made contact with the ball, with Coquelin eventually winning it. But Krychowiak went down and Coquelin got wrongly booked for a same clean challenge that Krychowiak made.
Incident 6 – Min 34
Coquelin wins the ball with a clean tackle, ref decides to call a foul handing an advantage to PSG. – The classic PGMO ‘Phantom Foul’ routine.
Incident 7 – Min 45
Krychowiak charges in with a very high right knee and hits Sanchez in the chest. Clear reckless play and no yellow card given. Ref only gave a foul.
Incident 8 – Min 53
A good decision by Mr Kassai correctly calling it a non-penalty. And Di Maria doing what he does best pretending to be a dolphin or a bird shot in the sky. The minimal initial contact was outside the penalty area.
Incident 9 – Min 54
Blatant foul play from Veratti, with the ref merely standing by admiring the scene. Veratti still on the pitch and not sent off.
Incident 10 – Min 60
Bellerin clearly fouled but nothing given. PSG launch a counter attack. Thanks ref. another PGMO classic.
Incident 11 – Min 77 – Alexis scores a clean goal – no video clip necessary
Incident 12 – Min 88
Nacho spots Giroud’s run and plays a throw-in. Muenier spots Giroud running behind defence and grabs hold of him and eventually pulls him down. But my word! The ref gives a foul against Giroud! Looks like the ref is a graduate of “Riley’s School of Refereeing” which when abbreviated is RSOR, and makes as much sense as the decision itself.
Giroud rises up and show clear dissent which the ref punishes him for, with a yellow card. Correct card. But when ref’s foul decision making is so poor that he gives the foul against the fouled player, it develops a sense of oppression in the mind of a player, which leads to him protest.
Incident 13 – Min 90 + 3
Here Giroud body checks to block Veratti (not needed). Veratti stretches his feet and trips Giroud (not needed). Then comes on the real unpunished villain of the incident Marquinhos. He pushes Giroud in to Veratti, which causes Veratti to fall down (Giroud is 193cm [6’3″] tall and weighs 96 kg [15 st 2 lbs] so of course any collision can cause such result). Marquinhos keeps pushing Giroud and escapes scot free.
Given that both Giroud and Veratti tried to engage each other in trips and block a second yellow card is justified for slightly unsporting behaviour. But here is where you can see the real failure of the ref. He stopped the match off the ball so far away to whistle for a little incident by both players. Whereas he clearly failed to do the same when Veratti pulled down Sanchez off the ball, right in front of his eyes.
Both teams will be without an important player for the next match but it should have been a lot worse for PSG who should be without both Matuidi and Veratti for longer period as they should both have had a straight red card and Arsenal should have been playing against 9 men for 81 minutes.
Most commentators were saying that we were lucky to escape with a draw. Correct refereeing should have ensured a sufficient numerical advantage for a very different game to have taken place with a totally different result the likely outcome.
- Hello hello. A tiny sighting of the return of Financial Fair Play. Let’s hope…
- Cognitive dissonance, coercive persuasion and the Arsenal…….
- Rubbish keeper, wrong selection, hopeless tactics. Oh look we drew.
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